A poor man’s DIY USB NAS part I

2018/05/30

Categories: General Tags: nas usb disk samba archlinuxarm

Back in 2014, when I started developing Archphile, I was using my desktop PC with samba in order to share my music to my transport. After almost a year I decided that I don’t want my PC to be running everytime I need to listen to some music. Besides this, my PC was and still is in a small room very close to my hi-fi, so being heavily obsessed with fan noises (and usually listening to music at low levels), I decided that it was time to create my first “quick and dirty” USB NAS.

I was already using a Devolo powerline solution to connect to a Raspberry Pi/Openelec at the living room, so this NAS would go to the other side of the house (close to the RPI) so that I could not hear even the fan noise of the USB disk.

To cut the long story short, for my first implementation I used:

I started looking for various software solutions in order to implement a complete NAS solution and after a lot of research I ended up with an installation that included:

etc..

I started using it immediately as a combo with Archphile, as my only need at that time was just to serve my music.

That was when I thought that it would be nice if I sat down and make a Raspberry Pi image (cubox-i was expensive and difficult to find) with all this stuff and share it with the members of a Greek forum I used to be a very active member back then.

….And this is why I created one of the most unsuccessful projects on planet earth: Phileserve!

Phileseve was an image for the Raspberry Pi that included everything. It even had a manual (which I used as a base many years later to write the Archphile manual ).

Considering the really low cost of this implementation, its performance was quite acceptable. Below you will find some tests I did with the Raspberry Pi:

Write

dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/test/testfile bs=1M count=1024 oflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 115.133 s, 9.3 MB/s

Read

dd if=/mnt/test/testfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024 iflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 106.425 s, 10.1 MB/s

Not bad at all, especially for a NAS just serving the “music library”.

Anyway, I shared my work on that forum, almost no one cared about it, so I stopped wasting my time and just kept using Phileserve for my own needs.

After more than two years of use with the cubox-i4, I replaced the board with an Odroid C1+ and that combo served me until the summer of 2017, when I decided that it was not enough for me..

Note 1: Phileserve Github repository is still up (and very outdated) and from time to time I push some configuration changes for files like the smb.conf mainly in order to backup. You never know..

Note 2: Using a NAS along with a powerline is not a very clever idea. During all these years this NAS had noticeable speed performance fluctuations and based on all the tests I did, the usual suspect was always the powerline solution.